The exclusive maker of the machines used to fabricate the world’s most advanced chips gave us a bit of rare good news about the global shortage of microprocessors Wednesday.
A January fire at ASML's Berlin factory won't cause production problems for its extreme ultraviolet lithography machines, the company said in an earnings announcement. ASML's tools are used by the likes of Intel and TSMC to produce the world’s most complex and powerful chips, and projected shipments of 55 EUV tools to those customers this year remain on schedule.
ASML is the only company in the world that makes these advanced tools, and disruptions in its ability to manufacture that equipment — which can cost as much as $180 million per machine — could have damaged the drive among chipmakers to increase production capacity. Because global supply chains have been pushed to the brink, minor disruptions to ASML and other manufacturers operations can have an outsized impact — which was the fear when ASML first disclosed the fire in early January.
“It means that if you're at maximum capacity, that you have to be very careful and very much monitoring any disturbances because you know if there's a disturbance, you don't have any buffer left because you're at maximum capacity,” CEO Peter Wennink said in a transcript provided by Sentieo.
ASML reported full-year net profit of €5.9 billion ($6.69 billion) on net sales of €18.6 billion.